Monday, 25 October 2010

Konchesky: Even in a Poor Liverpool Side he Sticks Out as an Under Performer

"Hodgson may not admit it but Konchesky is quite possibly a panic buy."
By Matt Scott
It would be unfair to assume that Paul Konchesky lacks the ability to hold his own in, what used to be, a top four club's defence, especially given that he has two England caps to his name. However, given his displays in a Liverpool shirt so far this season there are many fans that feel that he is far from deserving a place in the first XI.

When speculation began surfacing that Roy Hodgson was considering a swoop for his former Fulham compatriot, Liverpool forums began to fill with very sceptical messages. Then, on transfer deadline day, the official announcement was released that Liverpool had signed the bald headed left back and the forums started to flood with comments questioning Hodgson's decision to sign him.

The fans knew the squad needed a new left back, with last season’s regular left back, Insua, being shipped out on loan to Turkish side Galatasaray, Daniel Agger was being played out of position as a make-shift full back and Fabio Aurelio, who was Liverpool's 08/09 regular left back, has been plagued with injuries the past couple of seasons.

Hodgson may not admit it but Konchesky is quite possibly a panic buy. The only positives from the transfer are the fact that Konchesky is English. This will no doubt please Premier League chief Richard Scudamore, as it satisfies his new 'home-grown' squad regulations.

Secondly, Hodgson also has a previous working relationship with him, meaning he has a good idea of what Konchesky can bring to the squad but it seems that his ability has been underestimated.  At least that is what it looks like at the moment.

Arguably £3.5 Million and a couple of youth players is not a large amount of money to pay for a full back in this day and age. Despite this, many Liverpool supporters still feel a better alternative could have been found for that amount of money. Even Robbie Fowler who said, 'why oh why are we being linked with the likes of Konchesky, Luke Young, and Salcido?' hasn't been impressed with his former club's purchases in the transfer market.

Fowler's decision to question the quality of Salcido (above) in his comment may prove to have been premature as the Fulham new boy, signed as Konchesky's replacement, is becoming a Craven Cottage favourite. The 30-year-old Mexican, who gave some solid performances at the World Cup in Africa, has impressed fans at Fulham due to his high work-rate and willingness to get forward. Salcido, who is only one year older than Konchesky, has made 81 appearances for Mexico, scoring six goals.

He has also played in 29 Champions League Games as well as winning two Dutch titles in his time at PSV. Just to top it off, Fulham only paid PSV £1.6 million for their man, less than half what Liverpool paid for Konchesky. All these reasons combined and the player’s form so far this season, seem to indicate that Salcido would have been the better option for Liverpool.

Fabio Aurelio can't be far from full fitness and many Liverpool supporters will be thinking that it will not be long before he replaces Konchesky if his poor run of form continues.

He has looked out of place and somewhat overwhelmed, none more so than during the away trip to Manchester United, which ended in a 3-2 defeat. Even in the 2-1 win at Blackburn, Konchesky was guilty of being caught out of position and failing to clear his lines properly.

Obviously, the performances of the rest of Liverpool squad have not lightened the workload for the defenders.

Regardless of that, if Konchesky does not improve he may lose his place on the Liverpool team sheet and instead, find it next to the words: 'worst signing of the season'.

Matt Scott is the author of the Reality Football blog - and you can contact him on Twitter - @mattscott49 Best Blogger Tips
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